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Fort Kent residents to hear about future area structure plan

MD sign

BONNYVILLE - The MD of Bonnyville wants Fort Kent residents to be a part of their community development.

Not only will the Area Structure Plan (ASP) open house give the public some further insight into the future of the small hamlet, it will also act as a stage for them to explain what they would like to see.

Caroline Palmer, general manager of planning and development for the MD, said the current ASPs for Fort Kent and La Corey are outdated.

When the municipality had leftover funding from a grant they received from the province to create ASPs for Hwy. 28 and Hwy. 41, they saw an opportunity to put that money to good use.

According to Palmer, the MD asked the provincial government if they could use the remaining dollars to update the plans for Fort Kent and La Corey, because these are the communities linked to their respective highways.

The province gave the MD the green light, and now they're getting started on the ASP process by holding an open house at the Fort Kent Seniors Hall, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 6.

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., area residents will have the opportunity to learn about how an ASP affects the Fort Kent community.

“The first open house educates a lot of the residents on what as ASP does, and it’s a planning function moving forward so we know how to deal with applications coming across our counter and how it fits into the ASP and the overall development plan,” Palmer outlined.

She explained that an ASP is a layout or guiding document "on how we move forward with development, so when we get subdivision applications they need to meet that strategy."

Palmer added, “They’re planning documents on how we see this hamlets developing in the future dealing with land use, zonings, that type of thing."

By hosting an open house to inform the public, they're able to not only detail just what the process entails, but also garner feedback on what the community would like to see.

“This gets people getting together with us and our consultants saying ‘this is what we see moving forward on these different pieces of property and this is the zoning we would like to see.’ We try to put the residential together away from the hamlet general, and we want to know how they want the hamlet general permitted and discretionary-use treated,” noted Palmer.

She encourages residents to come out and ask questions.

“They’re the ones that live with the plan. They could be next to a property that they could want to see the same zoning comparative to theirs so they’re not dealing with incompatible uses, seeing what’s happening and being a part of the development of your community is important,” Palmer stressed. “The more that come out, the less surprises. People are fearful of what an ASP means, and it’s not annexation, it’s not rezoning your lands, it's to help you, not work against you.”

Meagan MacEachern, Bonnyville Nouvelle